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Top Trump official Ken Cuccinelli faces immediate backlash for his ‘absurd’ rewrite of the Statue of Liberty greeting

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“Cuccinelli may as well have this engraved on a plaque, hang it around his neck, and wear it for the rest of his life,” said the director of the ACLU’s immigrant rights project

Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli is under fresh fire on Tuesday after telling NPR in an interview that the famous words engraved on the U.S. Statue of Liberty—based on the poem by Emma Lazarus—should be re-cast with a qualifier when it comes to the kinds of people arriving at the nation’s shores seeking refuge or welcome.

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“Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” Cuccinelli responded after being asked by NPR’s “Morning Edition” host Rachel Martin if the Lazarus poem, titled “The New Colossus,” remains part of the American ethos under the Trump administration

His appearance on NPR came a day after Cuccunelli announced the administration was proposing new immigration rules that would require prospective green card applicants to show evidence that they would not likely require government assistance at  any point in the future if they were granted foreign worker or permanent residency status.

As the audio from Cuccinelli’s Tuesday morning interview hit social media channels, outrage and condemnation immediately followed.

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“Cuccinelli may as well have this engraved on a plaque, hang it around his neck, and wear it for the rest of his life,” tweeted Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

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According to CBS News, the long-anticipated policy “would require caseworkers to consider the use of government housing, food, and medical assistance such as the widely-used Section 8 housing vouchers, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicare’s Part D prescription drug coverage” when examining permanent residency applications.

Per NPR on Tuesday:

Welfare benefits will be just one factor that immigration service officers use to determine an applicant’s fate in the United States, in addition to age, health, education and financial status.

“If they don’t have future prospects of being legal permanent residents without welfare, that will be counted against them,” Cuccinelli said.

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“All immigrants who can stand on their own two feet, self-sufficient, pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” would be welcome, he added.

As Common Dreams reporting noted Monday, immigrant rights groups that denounced the plan when it was first unveiled in September raised fresh alarm and vowed to take legal action against the Trump administration to stop the rule, which is now set to take effect in 62 days.

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2020 Election

‘Disaster and disgrace’: Regretful Trump voter disgusted by his handling of COVID-19 and race relations

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Joe Biden has opened a four-point lead over President Donald Trump in Ohio, which the Republican won by twice that margin four years ago.

A survey conducted by Your Voice Ohio found the Democratic candidate leading Trump by 46-42, and Biden seems to be peeling off some of the president's past supporters in the state, reported the Columbus Dispatch.

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White House suddenly orders ‘mandatory’ COVID-19 testing for presidential staff

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White House employees will now be subject to mandatory testing for COVID-19, an official said on Monday.

In a statement to CNN's Jim Acosta, the unnamed White House official said that staffers working near President Donald Trump would be forced to undergo randomized testing.

"As part of our ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of the entire White House Complex, randomized testing of Executive Office of the President staff, which has been ongoing for several months, will become mandatory rather than voluntary," the official said.

White House employees reportedly received an email Monday morning with a stern warning.

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Thais ‘cast a spell’ for democracy in Harry Potter-theme protest

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Dozens of mostly young Thais wearing striped "Harry Potter" scarves rallied Monday against the government, vowing to "cast a spell" for democracy as the nascent movement grows increasingly bold in targeting the powerful elite.

For more than two weeks, young Thais across the country have held near daily protests at universities and town halls to denounce the military-aligned government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

Some have also waded into sensitive territory in recent weeks by holding up placards opposing Thailand's lese majeste law, one of the world's harshest.

It shields the monarchy and its super-rich King Maha Vajiralongkorn from criticism, making open scrutiny of the monarch virtually impossible.

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